The Arts Foundation fellowship has been a very successful and diverse year for me, it was very much non-stop and professionally and creatively very exciting. I am very grateful to the David Collins Foundation for the award and the boost it gave to my practice.
To put it into a more chronological order, after the Arts Foundation award announcement, Crafts Magazine approached me to do a studio portrait and interview. This resulted in a six-page piece in the magazine, with pieces of mine on the cover! This was certainly the second time that year that I felt very proud to get this bit of public recognition. It also created a lot of interest from galleries and shops who approached me to work with them. I took on one of them, which I felt was the most beneficial for me, but had to say no to loads of others because I literally couldn’t make anymore work! The new gallery/ shop is part of the new art foundation set up by the owners of Gallery Lafayette in Paris. Called Lafayette Anticipacion. It’s an exciting new studio and gallery space designed by Rem Koolhaas.
Even though some of the exhibitions were already planned the year before, winning the Award somehow changed the tone and ambition of my practice. I had several shows with new experimental work, mostly neon installations and a body of new blown work for a solo show at Flow Gallery. Also still in February, I participated with See-ds gallery in “Collect”, a high-end crafts fair at the Saatchi Gallery where I showed two new neon wall pieces with the gallery there.
With the prize money I was able to buy a bigger kiln, new burner and a new, better extraction hood. The kiln allowed me to make bigger work and I used it for a number of these new neon pieces. The more powerful extraction system enabled me to do further experiments with applied lustre and work in a more healthy studio environment. You can see the latest pieces I did with clear and coloured lustre below.
In April I showed again with See-ds two more new neon pieces during the Milan Design fair, again wall mounted works but this time with coloured glass shapes instead of clear glass tubes. In May I installed a big neon piece as part of a self-curated group show in Venice called “The House electric” together with neon artist Richard Wheater and graphic and product design studio M-L-XL at the A plus A Gallery. This was a self-financed and self-initiated project for the duration of the Venice Architectural Biennale 2018. Even though we had limited resources the show had a very good critical response.
Later that month during “Craft Week” I had a solo show at Flow Gallery London, called Superficies, I was able to experiment with new colours and crushed glass frit for the applied handles and spouts, creating limb like additions to the vessels.
In September I showed at “Future Heritage” during Decorex, and also exhibited pieces in a show at the Hepworth Wakefield curated by Giles Round. He chose several pieces of tableware, a selection of vases, wine glasses and glasses for the show The Director. The year ended up with me showing a neon piece with gallery ‘The Future Perfect’ in Basel Miami.
In conclusion, the regular timetabling of experimentation as stated in my application wasn’t what actually happened. Instead, I bunched up that time into blocks of time while working on the next exhibition and this approach worked much better and was a more effective way of spending time and resources. The fellowship has really been invaluable in terms of developing my practice and I worked very hard to make the most of it.